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American Scene: NYC subway plotter says making bombs ‘very simple’

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NEW YORK — The admitted mastermind of a foiled suicide attack on the New York City subways says he learned formulas for homemade bombs while at an al Qaeda training compound in Pakistan in 2008.

Najibullah Zazi testified for a second day Wednesday at the Brooklyn trial of Adis Medunjanin.

Zazi said al Qaeda instructors showed him how to mix chemicals found in nail polish remover and other common products found at beauty supply stores. He described the process as "very simple."

Zazi and another man pleaded guilty and agreed to testify against Mr. Medunjanin in a bid for leniency.

Mr. Medunjanin's lawyer insists his client is not a terrorist.

SOUTH CAROLINA

McDonald's worker arrested over spit-in-cup incident

SIMPSONVILLE — A South Carolina county's deputies said a McDonald's employee spit in two customers' cups of iced tea after the drinks were returned because they weren't sweet enough.

Authorities said 19-year-old Marvin Washington Jr. was arrested Wednesday and charged with malicious tampering with food.

Greenville County investigators said surveillance video caught Mr. Washington leaning over the cups before he filled them Saturday at the Simpsonville restaurant.

Authorities say the customers discovered phlegm when they removed the lids of the drinks to add more sugar because the iced tea still was not sweet enough.

OREGON

Air traveler strips naked to protest TSA screening

PORTLAND — A high-tech worker who stripped naked at Portland International Airport as a protest against airport security screeners said Wednesday he was being "nude but not lewd," and characterized his act of defiance as protected political speech.

John E. Brennan, 49, of Portland was charged with disorderly conduct and indecent exposure after taking off far more than this belt and shoes during the screening process before a Tuesday evening flight to San Jose, Calif.

The incident report from the Port of Portland, which operates the airport, said some passengers covered their eyes and the eyes of their children. Others laughed and took photos. The disorderly conduct charge was dropped at Mr. Brennan's arraignment Wednesday.

Mr. Brennan said in an interview that he did not arrive at the airport with the intention of getting naked. He said the Transportation Security Administration crosses the line between privacy and security. He decided to protest after he was pulled aside after going through the metal detector and a pat-down, he said.

"The most effective way to tell them I'm not carrying a bomb is take off my clothes," said Mr. Brennan, whom authorities led from the screening area with a towel around his waist.

Two screening lanes closed temporarily during the incident, but there were no flight delays.

KANSAS

Four escape county jail after transfer from prison

TOPEKA — A convicted murderer and another inmate who escaped from a Kansas jail after being transferred there because of overcrowding at a state prison remained at large Wednesday evening, while two others were apprehended.

The Kansas Highway Patrol reported that the four men escaped from the Ottawa County Jail in Minneapolis, a small town about 120 miles west of Topeka, about 4:45 a.m.

The two still at large are Santos Carrera-Morales and Eric James, both 22. Kansas Department of Corrections spokesman Jeremy Barclay said the men may have been traveling in another vehicle or may have separated by Wednesday evening.

The four men were among 22 inmates who had been transferred from the Ellsworth Correctional Facility in January to help alleviate the prison's crowded conditions.

CALIFORNIA

UC-Davis chief resigns over pepper-spray incident

DAVIS — The police chief who oversaw the University of California, Davis, police department during its pepper-spraying of Occupy protesters said Wednesday that she is stepping down.

UC Davis spokesman Barry Shiller said Chief Annette Spicuzza told the school she is retiring effective Thursday.

Chief Spicuzza told the Sacramento Bee that she does not want the Nov. 18 incident to define her or the university, and she's leaving so everyone involved can move forward.

"For the past seven years, I have accomplished many good things for both the police department and community here at UC Davis; and am grateful to those of you who have remembered this," she wrote to the paper.

Chief Spicuzza has been on paid leave since the incident, along with Lt. John Pike, who sprayed the orange liquid into the faces of protesters who were seated on a sidewalk and refusing orders to disperse.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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